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|Red Mass marks new judicial year|
A new judicial year officially began Tuesday with the 16th annual Red Mass at St. Matthew Catholic Church and opening of court ceremonies at Fourth Judicial District Court.
Red Mass was attended by local judges, attorneys and other dignitaries as well as students. Area religious leaders of various denominations from throughout northeast Louisiana were on hand, too.
Each year, opening of court is held following Red Mass ceremonies to memorialize members of the Fourth Judicial District Bar Association and for members of the bar association to get to know one another better, especially new members of the bar.
This year, a memorial was held for William R. Boles Sr. and Fred A. Coon Jr., two members of the bar association who passed away in the past year.
A special collection also was taken to support efforts of the Eastern Deanery St. Vincent de Paul Society in the construction of a kitchen at St. Matthew Community Center. The kitchen will provide a food pantry and food preparation facility to support needy residents and a Meals on Wheels program.
Red Mass is held annually at St. Matthew Catholic Church, the oldest church edifice in Monroe, and the oldest Catholic church in north Louisiana.
The solemn votive Mass of the Holy Spirit is celebrated annually at the opening of the judicial year. Judges, attorneys, legal associates and public officials join in "evoking God's blessing and guidance in the administration of justice."
The Rev. Alfred Hughes, Archbishop Emeritus of New Orleans, conducted the sermon Tuesday while the principal celebrant of Red Mass was the Rev. Michael Duca, Bishop of the Diocese of Shreveport.
The tradition of Red Mass dates many centuries in Rome, Paris and London. In the United States, Red Mass was inaugurated in 1928 in New York City. In Louisiana, the first Red Mass was offered in New Orleans' historic St. Louis Cathedral on Oct. 5, 1953.